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Two ETF Strategies for Europe

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investors familiar with ETFs already know that they have a plethora of options in terms of investing in international markets.

There are country-specific funds, regional funds, and even funds that seek to track the global economy.



Right now, investors in the international arena should be leaning toward the more micro end of this macroeconomic ETF scale and focus on countries that have the best shot of emerging relatively unscathed from the recent bout of uncertainty working its way through markets.

A case in point is Europe.

Clearly, there are certain countries that have more significant debt problems than the rest of the continent.

Instead of betting on the whole continent with a regional fund, investors interested in trying to catch a rebound in Europe can pick the countries most likely to have a steady rise once things begin to turn around.

Or they can pick the funds most likely to bounce in the next few days and weeks.

For instance, one of the more volatile country ETFs has been the iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (EWP). Dragged down by the country's weak banks and government debt, the fund is prone to popping upward on days when there is a slight improvement in sentiment.

Two other country ETFs showing similar behavior are iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund (EWI) and iShares MSCI Austria Index (EWO).

On a short-term horizon, funds such as EWI, EWO and EWP will rebound much faster than the healthier countries in Europe such as Germany, which is represented in ETF form by iShares MSCI Germany Index (EWG).

Germany recently passed a banking review conducted by European regulators, with the conclusion that the country's banks would be able to weather a worsening in the global economy.

In the past month, EWI and EWP are both leading EWG as they bounce sharply, a move that began at the beginning of June when the negative news out of Europe slowed down.

In the past three months, though, Germany is the clear winner. Although the fund is still in negative territory, it only lost about 15%, whereas EWI and EWP are both down about 23%.

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